HomeFeaturedLocal SportStoke City end unremarkable season with Coventry draw

Stoke City end unremarkable season with Coventry draw

Stoke 1 Coventry 1 – 7/5/22 12.30

Stoke finish the season as they have for the last 3 years, in the lower half of the Championship. Coventry had almost all the chances, so how Stoke even scored is a miracle. But 1-1 will have to do. Here’s how the game unfolded in real time:
Look, this is a must-win game. Mark Hughes isn’t the only manager to be “let go” after failing to beat Coventry City!! If Stoke win they finish in the top half of the league, the first time (for any top half finish) for 6 years. Fail, and things will not look so rosey. If Pulis had won his last ever game for Stoke (at Southampton) instead of drawing, Stoke would have finished top-10, their best finish in nearly 40 years – it would have been hard to have dislodged him after that. Sparky had a late winner against West Ham in the final game of 2016 which secured a lucky 9th place finish – he might not have lasted till his ultimate Coventry exit if Diouf hadn’t scored then. SO, a lot more riding on this game than many would think.
4.05 Tom Sparrow (starting for Tom Smith at right wing-back) is struggling with the wingers. Coventry not just here for a sun tan. [Yes, I know, it’s warm and sunny at the bet365. Where is the May snow???]
13.20 Keeper Ben Wilson comes haring out to the side of the box, and the replay seems to show him handling outside the area…No doubt Coventry will now rush up the other end and…
14.01 0-1 !!! Viktor Gyokeres beats the offside trap, outruns Fox, and slips it past Bursik. Morgan should be disappointed he didn’t get a foot in the way of that.
15.25 Viktor beats the trap again, but his finishing is woeful, missing the goal by a yard…thankfully for Stoke.
23.45 Phil Jagielka showing real class at the back, robbing strikers, shielding the ball, blocking shots. Mind you, he was born in Sale.
29.15 Josh Eccles goes over in the box, but he’s gripping his leg as he goes down, which makes you think it’s a hamstring (not a penalty). Crowd not in the least bit sympathetic, think he’s time-wasting, which is cruel as he’s stretchered off in some pain. That’s the end of his season!
38.10 Great save by Bursik after O’Hare turns and shoots. 2 minutes later he does it again. Apart from Tom handling outside the box, keeper Wilson hasn’t had anything to do!!! No doubt Stoke will rush down the other end and…
42.43 1-1 !!! Clucas converts Tymon’s cross from the left on the counter. It’s their first shot of the game!!! Dean Holden was about to shout them to death at half time & has to rethink his speech. Coventry (rightly) cannot believe it. In fact nobody can!!
HT 1-1 (unbelievably!)(says just about everybody!)
47.30 Back pass to Wilson appears to go over the goal-line. Wilson seems at sixes-and-sevens, but later has the wherewithal to tip over Lewis Baker’s long-range shot.
Attendance is 23,086 (based on tickets sold!). Seems about right.
56.15 Coventry distraught that they don’t get a corner! Even the ref has to guess and gives Stoke a goal kick. Uproar in stands, mirth on one side and irritation on the other.
62.11 A goal for Stoke could lift them from 14th place to 11th. Crucial. WBA are winning 4-0, otherwise 10th spot could have been an option.
67.50 Sam Clucas replaced by D’Margio Wright-Phillips. But Jagielka is still man of the match. James Chester on for Taylor Harwood-Bellis.
79.00 As Coventry press, is it worth going for broke? Stoke currently 14th would end 15th if they lose, 11th if they win…
80.28 Coventry header miraculously cleared off the line by Chester – looks like they’re the only City going to score now.
82.30 Sawyers on for Powell. Stoke going for power rather than finesse!
84.20 Wright and Brown cock up a clear breakaway. Wilson (probably reading the Daily Mirror or doing the Times crossword) is untroubled again this half.
89.00 Crowd turned up to 11 as the season starts coming to an end. Nobody knows what they are chanting. Stoke not playing as if this game is a must-win!
90+3 As Lewis Baker misses the last chance of the match, the ref blows up.
FT 1-1. Stoke finish a disappointing 14th. As the results come in, a defeat would also have left them 14th, so maybe they should have thrown the kitchen sink in at the end. Oh well.

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